NGV Triennial

Erez Nevi Pana



Crystalline 2020 will be one of the world’s first commissioned works of salt-based architecture. In this work Erez Nevi Pana examines a metamorphosis of basic raw material into a deliberate refined composition that interprets crystal growth and natural processes as an architectural practice. Crystalline, an imaginary chunk of a larger structure, consists of four distinct structural elements – a ladder, boulder, steps and walkway, assembled into one exploratory architectural work that aims to represent a journey from water to land. Each element is encrusted or grown with salt, demonstrating a repertoire of techniques developed by the designer including subaqueous crystal growth, melting, and merging salt with clay. When combined, the components reference concepts of motion and flow, of evolution and growth. Nevi Pana’s journey starts with the ladder as a metaphor for ascension from the Dead Sea – the lowest point on the earth’s surface – and concludes with the walkway, which demonstrates a symbolic transition to a new physical reality. The work speaks directly to the need for restoration of the surrounding Dead Sea area and postulates that salt-based architecture could introduce new and more sustainable paradigms for housing, tourism, and public works.

Erez Nevi Pana earned his BA in Design from the Holon Institute of Technology in 2011 and a MA from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2014, where his thesis focused on the recrystallisation of salt. A vegan and animal rights activist, his practice is based on veganism and conscientious, sustainable design. For the past eight years, working with salt in the Dead Sea has been fundamental to Nevi Pana’s research question: ‘What can be done with 20 million tons of salt, a byproduct accumulated every year in the fifth pond of the Dead Sea?’ This aggregation resulting from the over-industrialisation of the Dead Sea causes a hazardous domino effect including flooding, unstable water levels, and an overall disruption of natural equilibrium. To meet this man-made environmental challenge, the designer began envisioning solutions to make this undesirable material desirable again, which led to the conception of salt-based architecture.

The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporters The Andrew and Geraldine Buxton Foundation, The Michael and Janet Buxton Foundation and MAB Corporation Pty Ltd for their joint support.